Monday, May 24, 2010

How to encourage creativity and learning....

As a parent who is learning and growing with my child, I sometimes don't know what is the best way to nurture my child in the most natural way and without being invasive. I want my child to discover new things on his own and thus able to be more creative! Creativity cannot be taught! I think our school system kills creativity. Even preschools and kindergartens are being very academic focused these days (So thankful that my son's school is not!). So sad. Children hardly play as much as what our grandparents and their parents used to.

My job is to teach young children and sometimes adults to read and write in English. At times I felt guilty selling to parents that children can read at a very young age! Even my son started reading at the age of 2.5 years old. Phhff! Ain't I contradicting myself? Well, not really. The way I teach... it's more like playing and having fun (for the very young). For my older students, homework from me is very rare. We also had a lot of fun in class. I believe in balance. Let the child learn at their own pace. Learning has to be fun and not a chore! Being a teacher, my job is to guide the child and when appropriate, I encourage and teach and never push(unless the child is truly lazy and a rebel).

So how to encourage creativity or learning? Provide the child with all the necessary tools and a conducive environment then encourage but never push or worse force! Show them examples of great work or better still, you demonstrate whatever you want to teach your child. Show them how much fun they can have and even if you are not good at's ok... all you want to do is to show how much fun it is to learn or do a certain thing. Bottom line is to have fun and let the child explore all the possibilities as he learns. Do not belittle the child if he makes a mistake and in fact, our school system has make children afraid of making mistakes and thus in directly stunts creativity.

An example:

Reese has started to show interest in drawing, colouring and painting. So what do I do? Make sure I have all the necessary stationary like art block, lots of marker pens, colour pencils, tempera paint, an easel, tables in his playroom and also an extra table in the living room for him to do drawing. All within easy reach so that when he feels like drawing he can do so.

Then I started to draw his favourite things and show him once or twice what fun he can have with markers and the rest is history. I constantly think of what I can do to encourage him to try different methods of drawing and using different medium. A lot of mess sometimes but it's all worth it. He learns from mistakes and that is important. Children are not afraid of making mistakes and we should not make it a big deal when they do make a mistake or two, we need to encourage them that making mistake is ok and in fact it's part and parcel of the learning process.


Extra table in the living room


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